Have Gut — Will Travel or Go West, Young Mike or Darth Vader, My Ass
Chapter 3

MESCAL, AZ -- My travel companions explained our whereabouts and the space-time continuum to me. I should've consulted the itinerary.

We were not, as I had originally suspected, at the Tombstone Saloon in 1881 (which was good because, well, try getting Chex Mix and, for that matter, a bendy straw).

Sign for the Mescal movie tour. Photo copyright 2003-2004 Donna Durrett. All rights reserved.Stoked I was, nevertheless, to discover we were in the fresh 21st century at the Mescal movie location, a completely phony cowboy town near Benson, Arizona. The false buildings were designed to resemble the legendary pioneer 'burb o' Tombstone, where chaps in chaps and (insert politically correct varmint term here) with savage intent once roamed -- at least, on the silver screen.

A soothing, damp sponging and a Roy Rogers on the rocks later, I was ready to proceed with the tour. My delirium downgraded to Code Orange: Wild and Woozy.

A kindly friend, Stan, helped me to sit up on the saloon bar, but not before my li'l missy, Donna, untied my restraining wrist ropes and snatched the makeshift pillow.

Ever rugged, I bit hard into a lemon, swallowed the bottom gulp and the Gummi Worm, then shuffled out into the bright, picturesque street.

The main Mescal movie street. Photo copyright 2003-2004 Mike Durrett. All rights reserved.As I wondered if the brightness of the noonday sun was fake, too, I began to recognize snatches of the surrounding real estate and dust. I'd been here numerous times via the movies.

Constructed and first seen in a fine 1970 Lee Marvin western, "Monte Walsh," the Mescal spread is recalled today as the setting of "Tombstone" (1993), starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, and "The Quick and the Dead" (1995) with Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman. Television viewers may recognize "The Young Riders" (1989-92) and "The Magnificent Seven" (1998).

Others believed to have walked this barren corridor: Frank Sinatra, Danny Glover, Jack Palance, Steve McQueen, Sam Elliott, Clint Eastwood, and -- grab a loved one -- Marie Osmond in "I Married Wyatt Earp" (1983). The place is big on Earps.
Next: Chapter 4 | Rewind to Chapter 1
Street photo ©2003-2004 Mike Durrett; sign photo ©2003-2004 Donna Durrett. All rights reserved.

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